December 6, 2018 / Comments (1)

Tips for Camping in Cold Weather

Camper in winter with feet up watching snowy landscape with flask and boots on

If you’re no fair weather camper, then the woes of winter will do little to dampen your spirit of adventure!

While some people shiver at the thought of it, camping in the winter can be a wonderful experience. The crisp nights sipping hot chocolate, bright afternoon walks and a real sense of conquering the elements all make camping in the cold weather a joy for lovers of the outdoors.

If you are thinking of sleeping out under the stars this winter, read our top 11 tips for camping in cold weather to make sure you aren’t left with the chills…

1. Select a snuggly sleeping bag

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential on any camping trip. During winter, you will probably need a season 3 or season 4 sleeping bag to be able to withstand possibly freezing temperatures. Mummy style bags are best for keeping you warm as they fit closer to the body, though if you are camping with someone you are fond of, a double sleeping bag is good for sharing body heat. For extra insulation, a sleeping bag liner can really help, too. We also have sleeping bags for kids to keep your little ones toasty warm!

See our sleeping bag buying guide for more information.

2. Don’t lie on the ground

When you’re sleeping outside, most of the cold will be radiating upwards through the ground. To avoid the earth sapping your heat, raise yourself off the floor with a camp bed. You can also fend off stiff joints by topping your bed with a self inflating sleeping mat; these offer extra insulation that an air mattress lacks, helping keep you warm and comfortable.

For further protection, tent carpets and rugs are also essential. Find out more about them with our blog post on why you need one.

3. Let there be light!

Don’t forget, it will be much darker during the winter months, with the sun setting as early as 4 o’clock! With this in mind, make sure you arrive at your camping site with plenty of time to put your tent up during daylight. You also need to ensure you aren’t left in the dark by lack of lighting. To keep safe, take adequate lanterns and torches, including plenty of spare batteries. A head torch is perfect for keeping hands-free while lighting your way!

We have a camping lights buying guide to help you find the best one for your trip.

Tent in snow surrounded by trees with light inside

4. Waterproofing does wonders

Your tent, walking boots, coat – choose waterproof when you can! When camping in winter, getting damp is a sure fire way to feel cold and miserable. Once moisture gets into your clothing and equipment, it will be hard to dry out in cold air, so prevention is always better than a cure. Before you go, make sure all your waterproofing is up to scratch by washing and reproofing it as necessary.

Read up on the best way to waterproof a tent with our blog.

5. Learn your layers

Layers are extremely effective at keeping you warm as they trap heat from your body. Start with one of our thermal base layers for men or women before putting on your middle layers, followed by an insulated jacket. A walking hat and pair of gloves are also must-haves during the day and are even better when they are waterproof and wind resistant. Sleeping in your hat is another great tip for keeping warm while you sleep.

6. Take the right tent

While bigger may be better in summer, you should choose the smallest size tent possible for winter camping trips. Taking a 7-sleeper when it’s just the two of you will make it harder to heat up, as there will be much more cold air. An appropriately sized tent will warm up more easily with your body heat, so prepare to cosy up together!

You will also want to make sure it is waterproof to keep out winter downpours and sturdy enough to withstand any winds. Be sure to take gloves when you’re putting it up, as nothing is worse than fumbling around with frosted fingers!

7. Put the kettle on…

A hot drink and warm meal will go far in fending off chills. Take a camping stove and camping kettle to be able to prepare drinks and meals quickly and easily. Stock up on tinned soups or even take a casserole from your freezer to make sure you have a hearty meal ready to go. High calorie foods and carbohydrates are vital for keeping energy up in the cold, so see our range of camping foods for easy to prepare nutritious meals.

Take a look at our blog post on the best camping stoves for making amazing campsite meals.

Campfire with kettle in winter with tent in the background

8. Turn up the heat

You can do all you can to keep yourself warm, but sometimes you need a little extra help. A portable heater is a good shout if you want to take the edge off the cold. If you have electricity at your camping site, you could use an electric heater to warm up your tent before you go to bed and get up in the morning.

If not, you can use a gas heater, but use with caution; there is little ventilation in a tent, making carbon monoxide poisoning a real risk when used inside. Take a carbon monoxide alarm and never leave a gas heater running in your tent while you sleep.

9. Cosy up

Take a hot water bottle, your warmest pyjamas, blankets and thermals. Be sure to have plenty of spare socks in your bag, as nothing will get you shivering more than having cold and wet feet! You could even sleep with your next day’s clothes in your bag with you, so they are warmed up for when you slip them on the next morning. Another good tip is to use hand warmers to preheat your shoes!

10. Choose the right spot

Are there shops, pubs or restaurants nearby if you need a break from the cold? If you are further off the beaten track, see if there is any natural shelter you can benefit from. However, make sure that you are clear from any loose branches that could fall on your tent if it gets windy.

11. Be prepared

It’s good advice to prepare for colder conditions than you expect – it’s better to be safe than sorry! Always check weather forecasts before you set off to make sure you have everything you need. It’s also important to make sure you know where you are at all times, as getting lost when it’s cold, wet and dark can be dangerous. Remember, if the elements become too difficult, it may be best to turn back and try another day!


Do you love camping in the cold weather? Let us know your tips in the comments section below! Don’t forget to shop our full camping range to find everything your need for your next trip, whatever the weather!


Looking for more camping advice? Read these posts…
24 Amazing Camping Hacks Every Camper Should Know | How to Pitch a Tent Like A Pro | Camping & Hiking Disasters – What to Do When It All Goes Wrong

Last modified: January 18, 2019

One Response to :
Tips for Camping in Cold Weather

  1. Matt Adams says:

    Great post, I don’t think there’s anything worse than waking up in the morning and feeling the cold when out camping :-). Even if there is a nice warm kettle waiting to be brewed.

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